Miami and the Everglades

It’s been a little while since my last post, but I’m back with a full week of adventures to share. With 2 National Parks, 4 science museums, and some beach time, it was definitely a full week.

This week’s adventures started at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. This was on my list because of being a science center affiliate, and while it’s not a typical museum, it was really cool and I enjoyed it a lot. The Marinelife center is an active turtle rescue and rehab hospital. There is one exhibit room with information on turtles, but the real reason to go is the turtle tanks out back. There were probably about 20 small pools that had turtles in different stages of rehab along with stories of how they all ended up at the Marinelife Center. The hospital area also had windows that you could look in to see any current patients being worked on. The whole area was very focused on conservation focused, and it was neat to get to see some turtles up close.

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After the Marinelife Center, I went to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. This was a letdown, and definitely not worth it. There was a lego exhibit on travel that was geared towards little kids, but didn’t have much to offer for anyone else. The aquarium area had a few tanks, but not a ton of variety and almost all of the tanks looked like they could have been found in a home aquarium. It was by far the most disappointing stop of the week.

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My third stop of the week was at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science. This was a pretty quick stop due to the parking lot having several break ins the day I visited, and not wanting to be parked there for very long. Even in just a short amount of time though, there was a lot to see at the museum. There was a live animal exhibit, a weather exhibit, a space and flight exhibit, a health exhibit, an engineering exhibit, and an exhibit about emergency responders and their equipment. The exhibits were all really interactive and had a lot of educational information packed in as well. I wish I would have had a little more time to explore, but overall it was still a really cool museum.

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Spending such a short amount of time at the Museum of Discovery and Science did mean that I got more time to spend at my last stop of the day which I was definitely glad for once I got there. My last stop was at the Frost Museum of Science in Miami. The museum itself was a really neat set up. The exhibit halls are on an open courtyard, and each exhibit hall feels like walking in to its own mini museum. There was a large exhibit on poison in nature, warfare, and science that was really neat. I was also really impressed with there ocean exhibit. The exhibit spanned 3 floors, and each floor was a different layer of the ecosystem. The top floor was surface level, and had a lot of information on the everglades and how land based ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems are really interconnected. The top floor was also an open deck, so you could look out on the bay and the city while in the exhibit. Overall, I really enjoyed the museum, and it was a great way to finish off my first day of exploring this week.

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My second day of exploring was spent at Everglades National Park. I started the day with a Shark Valley Tram Tour. The tour was 2 hours jammed packed with information on the animals, ecosystems, and challenges of the everglades. Since it was morning and hadn’t warmed up too much, there were plenty of alligators to spot as well. There were lots of birds, turtles, and lizards as well. It was really neat getting to see such a unique habitat, and the guides were so great at not only making sure to point out animals as we passed them, but also explaining so much about the serious issues facing the everglades. After the tour was over, I planned on spending my afternoon on some of the trails near the Royal Palm Visitor’s Center. I did start walking one of the trails through a tree hammock area. It had started to rain a little bit as I was starting the trail, and when the thunder got louder, I decided to cut my time short. It started pouring right after I got back to my car. Even with not spending as much time as I had originally planned in the park, I enjoyed my time in the everglades. It really is just so different from any place I’ve ever been before, and I learned so much about how delicate and yet resilient ecosystems can be.

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My last day of adventures this week started out on the beach. I started the morning out relaxing in Miami Beach before heading out for the afternoon to Biscayne National Park. Biscayne is unlike other national parks in that it is pretty much just ocean. Visiting Biscayne meant going on a snorkeling trip. The trip covered 2 sites, one a natural reef and the other an art installation artificial reef. It was my first time snorkeling or really doing anything ocean related. It was really neat getting to see such a different world, and I think it is something that I would like to do again sometime. I didn’t take my waterproof camera, so you will just have to take my word that it was beautiful.

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This week had several of the bigger things that I wanted to do while I am here, and it was a great start to my time here. I still have a lot that I want to do, and I am looking forward to many more adventures.

Sarah

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